Server ate my homework, or just how bad can my kids do and not fail?

The past three virtual school days have not been good. Friday we trekked to pick up the Florida Virtual School packets at my K & 2nd grader’s school. We had no less than 4 teachers assist getting us the pre-packaged stuff and somehow we didn’t get a thing that either of them needed. They’d 1) only got the kindergartener’s bag, 2) not put the required Florida Virtual Curriculum handbooks in there, 3) skipped the second grader entirely.

So Monday I went back, explained to the people what had happened, and got two bags… this time only the kindergartner was missing a book, which a lot of her classmates are as well. Two trips I made on this.

Monday started homework, and with the way it’s set up for the younger kiddos you have to go to every single class to look for homework assignments and do them there. Some are quizzes, some reference the Florida Virtual School’s books. Some reference something else that I’m waiting on a response to. Some go to downed websites, and some were links to videos blocked by the school.

Monday also started their full day, so we’re on a brand new schedule for the third week in a row. But today’s not Monday, today’s the day the second graders learned on their own how to use chat rooms in Microsoft Teams. Holy crap y’all.

Morning announcements started and our school’s principal came on and started talking to the students. I was in the next room getting some food for my kiddos when I started hearing the dings. Popping my head in the entire right side of my 2nd grader’s laptop was filled with messages as other second graders learned they could open up chat rooms from any class they’d previously been in. When I say I couldn’t see the principal, I am not exaggerating. His video window was covered.

I muted several chat rooms and we were able to catch the last of the morning announcements. There were kids and parents adding to the chat window insanity typing “stop typing”.

After school we started doing some homework and found one of the Florida Virtual Schools books pieces. Filled it out in the booklet and we’re supposed to photograph it and submit it and there’s no submit button for that one. Another one which is less of a tech challenge and more of a WTF asks us to do something from the paperwork and gives page numbers and description for something else entirely. Third class involved a third party service that when we tried to use it told us it wouldn’t work with @mnpsk12.org emails, when I wrote the teacher she had me try something else, service was now completely down so yeah.

The people who can afford it are running away to private schools at the moment. I feel them.

One week from today the director of MNPS is supposed to announce what’s going to happen moving forward. Will classes return? Will we have some kids in and some kids out? Are Nashville’s numbers actually low enough to not turn this into a hot Covid-19 pit? When we shut the city down and closed the schools the 14-day numbers were pretty low – I think in the 30s. We’re now in the 180s, although slowly declining, so not particularly sure what the reasoning behind saying we can open would be. I’ve sort of assumed Nashville would just watch the state and see what happened.

There are very few stories on what is happening actually. I know some schools started a bit later but the lack of news on k-12 seems strange.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.